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BT announces new ultrafast broadband trials: G.fast for muggles, gigabit fibre for business wizards

BT has announced plans to launch even more trials of ultrafast broadband technology. 

Two trials of G.fast technology will take place in Kent and Cambridgeshire later this year while two trials of business-only gigabit fibre broadband will take place in Bradford. 

Roughly 25,000 residential customers will take part in the new G.fast trials. The tech has demonstrated top speeds of over 700Mbps in controlled lab conditions, but BT’s keen to see how it will perform in a number of real world environments, which is why it’s also launched G.fast trials in built-up Swansea and Gosforth and the verdant market town of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Once connected, trialists will be able to access top speeds of 330Mbps using G.fast. 

In Bradford, firms on Kirkgate High Street and Listerhills Science Park will be able to enjoy top download speeds of 1Gbps, delivered via FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections. As well as rolling out gigabit services to businesses, the UK’s biggest telco wants to see how quickly it can roll out new FTTP lines in high street locations and if possible, make the process more efficient. 

Clive Selley, CEO of BT’s network division Openreach said: “I’m determined to roll out ultrafast broadband, and G.fast technology is the best way to deliver that to the majority of the UK as quickly as possible. We also plan to roll out significantly more fibre to the premises, and we’re trialling a range of options in Bradford to use that technology increasingly in future – wherever it makes sense.”

Despite the FTTP trials being firmly business broadband-only deals, the results could have exciting implications for future residential rollouts too. BT’s already pledged to build FTTP infrastructure – ducts and poles, in other words – free of charge in 250 new housing developments across the UK which could be expanded pending results of these trials. 

BT’s renewed enthusiasm for ultrafast broadband comes in the wake of telecom’s regulator Ofcom’s Strategic Review, which called for BT to make it easier for rival ISPs to access Openreach infrastructure

Last September BT pledged to make G.fast services available to around 10 million UK homes within the next five years – provided Ofcom and the government provided the ‘right regulatory framework’. 

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